Apr 11, 2017 09:03 AM EDT
UC Davis Leafs Team In Finding The Most Distant Galaxies In The Universe [Video]
A team of astronomers, led by a graduate student at the University of California - Davis, made breakthroughs in the study of space. They were able to discover one of the most distant galaxies in the universe.
Austin Hoag, a UC Davis graduate student in physics, described the most distant objects as extremely bright and rare compared to other galaxies. They speculated that this is much more representative of galaxies of the time.
Their study was recently published in the journal "Nature Astronomy." Hoag is the lead author of the paper.
In a press release via UC Davis' official website, it was reported that these ultradistant galaxies were close to the beginning of the universe. The researchers found them interesting because they fall within the "Epoch of Reionization," which is a period that happened at an estimated billion years after the Big Bang when the universe became transparent.
The universe was a cloud of cold, atomic hydrogen, blocking light, after the Big Bang. The first stars and galaxies condensed out of the cloud and began to emit light and ionizing radiation, which melted away the atomic hydrogen and led to the first galaxies spreading their light.
The new object, called MACS1423-z7p64, is at a redshift of 7.6. This puts it at an estimated 13.1 billion years in the past. The researchers utilized giant lens in the sky to find these faint, distant objects.
The process happens when light passes by a massive object, like a galaxy cluster, and its path is bent by gravity - similar to when light gets bent as it passes through a lens. If the object is large enough, it can act as a lens that magnifies the images of objects behind it.
While z7p64 is similar to millions of other galaxies, it was located at the perfect spot behind a giant galaxy cluster, which magnified its brightness by tenfold and made it visible to Hoag and his team. The astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope.
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